A Primer for Beginners in Pharmaceutical Care: A Call-to-Action to Pharmacists

A Primer for Beginners in Pharmaceutical Care: A Call-to-Action to Pharmacists

Marcus Vinícius Dias-Souza
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 26
DOI: 10.4018/IJPHME.2018070102
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This article describes how pharmacists are highly accessible healthcare professionals, and their clinical services are among the most accessible healthcare assistance systems worldwide considering the availability, geographic distribution and location of compounding pharmacies, clinical laboratories and drugstores. Pharmacists need to move from the focus in administrative management to patient-oriented practice, such that the access and the quality of clinical services can be improved. Pharmaceutical Care can influence pharmaceutical services to become more accessible and with a broader coverage of patients. Here is presented an approach on the implementation of effective strategies to improve the quality of Pharmacists' performance as specialized healthcare providers.
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More than half of the world population cannot access the medication they demand. Prices are often too high for patients and health systems to afford, and therefore, such expenses represent a significant part of the total healthcare budget. And it is in this context that Pharmacy profession has evolved to include the provision of services beyond the traditional role of medication dispensing. Pharmacists are highly accessible healthcare professionals given the availability, geographic distribution and location of establishments such as drugstores and compounding pharmacies. The Pharmacist is usually the first professional addressed by a patient with minor or complex health issues, commonly due to the scarcity of physicians, or even due to financial barriers to private clinical services when public healthcare services cannot address the patient’s needs (Hepler, 1996; 2004; Wiley et al., 2014; Kamei et al., 2015; Penm et al., 2015; Lopes et al., 2017; Mateti et al., 2017).

Pharmaceutical services are among the most accessible healthcare assistance systems worldwide, being quite often provided without additional charges (beyond medication prices) by Pharmacists in enterprises like drugstores and compounding pharmacies; yet, some of these services are remunerated in some countries, including consultations, blood pressure measurements or preparation of healing bandages. The published experience on the traditional way that pharmaceutical services are established and offered has shown that they have historically been working relatively well for patients in conditions such as: a) common and controlled acute or chronic diseases, b) use of not many medications (like two or three formulations), c) simple therapeutic schemes, d) adequate education level to understand pharmaceutical advising on rational use of medications (Citrome, 2011; Fisher et al., 2014; Gabr & Shams, 2015; Molino et al., 2017).

In some countries, in addition to counseling patients on all technical aspects concerning appropriate medication usage, Pharmacists are allowed to prescribe some types of medications, a relevant support for patients to take decisions on self-treatment with medication. This may explain in parts why patients often seek advice in pharmacies, and frequently do not consider a physician consultation. Nevertheless, there are several challenges for providing these services for patients with limitations such as low education, difficulties on reaching the Pharmacist, the need for individualized monitoring (due to the complexity of therapy), and reports of low quality services are growing worldwide. These facts have been requiring Pharmacists to rethink the way in which pharmacy practice is performed (Lewin, 2013; Sakthong et al., 2013; Fishera et al., 2014; Malewski et al., 2014; Sakharkar et al., 2014; Abe et al., 2017; Babar et al., 2017).

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